RAFT Writing Strategy
RAFT is a writing strategy to help students focus on four areas of communication. RAFT is an acronym for the following:
Role of the Writer
A RAFT assignment might look like this:
|Role of the Writer||Audience||Format||Topic|
character from a book
|President of the United States
group of parents
|saving the environment
changing a rule or law
promoting a product
informing the public
asking the public to help support a cause
Students are required to select one item from each column. One student may be a teacher writing song for a group of parents asking them to change a rule in the school. Another person may be an artist addressing peers on a bill board that will inform them of an event. Dozens of options may be selected from just this one RAFT assignment.
This writing strategy not only helps students understand the varied formats of writing, but to know the audience they will address, their role as writers, and writing topics.
A RAFT lesson covers many teaching standards. In addition to the four areas of communication, assignments may also practice with specific skills. For example, in the printables below the RAFT activity requires students to use onomatopoeia and/or alliteration.
The best part of the RAFT experience is the ease to differentiate instruction. For example, I placed students into three groups. Each group was given two choices of activities. The activities varied in difficulty from the easiest level which was mostly drawing to the most difficult which was to create a slogan for advertising or a comic strip.
When I used this activity in the classroom, students had to think creatively to complete these activities. The projects were challenging yet fun for the students. All in all it was a great experience. I will defiantly use this project in future years.
#1 Printable – Get this printable.
Permanent link to this article: http://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=91
Calling on Students
Questioning students is an important part of the evaluation lesson. Not only must teachers ask questions from all levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, but they must also call on both volunteers and non-volunteers. On top of this, the non-volunteers must represent a random mix of students. BOY! What a lot to remember when you are nervous with two evaluators writing down everything you do and say! I devised this simple, yet effective, way for randomly calling on non-volunteers.
Here’s how it works:
I divided my students into three groups based on how they normally answer questions in class.
The first group represents students I think would do well answering the knowledge and understanding level Bloom questions. For example, I have one very bright, extremely shy student. When I ask her a short, quick response question, she can reply with great answers. If I ask her a question that requires a more detailed answer, she gets the “deer in the headlights” look on her face and completely freezes up.
These are the students that respond well to nonverbal tasks. OK, I know we are answering questions, but there are many question-type activities that can be incorporated into a lesson. “Go to the SmartBoard and drag the definitions next to the vocabulary words.” or “On this website, I want you to select the correct answer to this multiple choice question.” or even “Draw a diagram or sketch an illustration of . . . on the board.” One student I have that fits this group is a young man who wants to tell the class everything he knows. After a few seconds, he is completely off-topic.
This is simply the rest of the class.
Making Name Calling Sticks
I write each student’s name on one of three different wooden shapes based which group I have placed them in. I like using the wooden shapes because they are easy to select from a box, but many other materials will work equally as well. You could use three different colors of cubes or even strips of colored paper.
Next place the wooden shapes into a box. Every other question or so, “randomly” select a non-volunteer from your box to answer the question. The different shapes are easy to distinguish making the selection planned.
In the photo, you will notice that I have used a highlighter to mark different colors at the ends of the wooden shapes. These colors are based on my small learning groups. [You may wish to read this post explaining an easy method for dividing students into groups.] I used this set of names when my class was completing a game activity, and I needed to rotate between each group with my questions.
I hope this simple method will help alleviate a little stress from a highly stressful situation.
Permanent link to this article: http://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=144
Permanent link to this article: http://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=96
Permanent link to this article: http://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=100
In the past couple of years, teacher evaluations have become more and more stressful. I admire teachers who can perform under pressure with ease. Since I am not one of those teachers, I have come up with a number of gimmicks [for lack of a better word] to help me remember the one hundred or so components that must be included in an evaluation lesson. I will discuss some of these ideas in a series of posts. Here is the first Using PowerPoint.
Once you begin making PowerPoint presentations with your lessons, you will wish you had started years ago. Moving from one task to another becomes easy with instructions, examples, and a number of other lesson elements posted in the PowerPoint for the class to see. Even a simple PowerPoint with text only can prompt you through a lesson.
Having a lesson run smoothly is especially important when under the pressure of an evaluation. During my last evaluation, I knew the next activity I had planned and was ready to move forward. I then pressed the button to advance the PowerPoint slide and there was a mid-lesson review of the teaching standard, a requirement for our evaluations. If I had not been prompted, I would have completely skipped over this component and been docked a point. [Yeah, PowerPoint!]
I am including two PowerPoint lessons with this post as samples. Download them. Edit them to meet the needs of your students. Then try them in your classroom. All I ask is that you don’t repost these PowerPoints in any form on your websites or blogs.
I used this lesson with an inclusion class of fourth grade students. I have a link to the PowerPoint directly below. You may click the link or the PowerPoint image to download. Below this image is the link to the handouts that go with the lesson. They are a free download on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Click this link to receive the printables for this lesson.
This PowerPoint has three parts. I completed the first two parts with my fifth grade inclusion class before the formal teacher evaluation. Here again, I have included links to both the PowerPoint and the printable resources. The printable is a condensed version of the PowerPoint activities. Although it does not follow the PowerPoint step-by-step, it contains the graphic organizer, response cards, and test. You may click the link or the image to download the PowerPoint.
Author’s Purpose PowerPoint
Handouts for this lesson are free on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Click this link to receive the printables for this lesson.
Author’s Purpose Graphic Organizer
Permanent link to this article: http://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=102
One effective way to teach vocabulary is with index cards. Here’s how:
On one side of the index card, students write the vocabulary word in large letters so that it may be used as a response card. For daily practice, students spread their index cards with the words facing up on their desktops. The teacher calls out definitions, synonyms, antonyms, or sentences with missing words. Students locate the correct word and hold up the card. This is a great way for the teacher to check to determine if students need additional practice or if most know the words. Also, each student is participating with each teacher request – ‘the every student, every time theory.’
When teaching a new word, I have students create word webs or write definitions on the reverse side of the card. A word such as encyclopedia will need a definition, whereas inspire would be an ideal word for a word web. I usually read the sentence from the text in which the word may be found. The students must use context clues to determine the meaning of the word. As students name synonyms or come up with a great definition, I write it on the board for the students to copy on their cards.
Students determine which part of speech the word is as it is used in the sentence from the text. This is written on the back of the card as well.
Next I call on volunteers to use the word in sentences. To mix things up, we sometimes write the sentences on the card backs, and other times this is just oral practice.
Some words need an illustration. For example, microscope would be a great word for students to draw quick sketches next to their definitions, in place of writing sentences on their card backs. To differentiate instruction, you may have some students draw their illustrations on the front of the card.
Additional Ways to Teach Vocabulary
The teacher reads difficult text. One great way to do this is to select a novel the students would enjoy, but could not read independently. Read a few minutes after lunch to the class.
The teacher sets up a listening center where students listen to the audio version of the text. Students should follow along in the book while the audio reads the book.
The teacher models new vocabulary words on a regular basis.
Students create pictures, diagrams, and graphic organizers with vocabulary words.
Have the students analyze words by breaking them down by syllables, affixes, base words, or root words.
Students name synonyms and antonyms of words.
The teacher uses new vocabulary words in everyday speech. Students should be encouraged to use new words in conversation.
Students analyze multiple-meaning words.
Have students purposefully misconstrue a multiple-meaning word to make a puzzle for others to solve. See a bulletin board with student work here.
Permanent link to this article: http://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=78
Small group activities are incorporated into many unit lessons. One hour of organization will make transitioning your class into group activities simple.
1) Purchase insertable name badges (lanyards) for each student in your class. You may use fold & clip name badges or the hanging name badges with neck straps.
2) Write or type the names of each student on the individual rectangular inserts provided with the name badges.
3) Before punching the rectangular inserts apart, take them to the copying machine and make copies in four to five colors based on the number of students in your class.
4) Using a paper cutter, slice the rectangles apart.
5) Make a stack (one of each color) of a student’s name and store all colors in one vinyl holder of the lanyard.
6) Sort students into groups by color. Simply place the student’s name printed on “blue” paper at the top of the stack before placing the names in the lanyard. All students who have “blue” names will form the “blue” group. Repeat with each color until you have formed each group.
You may easily rearrange groups by shuffling different color name tags to the top of the stack.
Additional Uses for Individual Lanyards
Play “Round About.” In this fun activity, students get out of their desks and move around the room. This is a welcomed change from the many pencil and paper activities they so frequently are required to do. Here are the instructions for the activity:
Make cards with the definitions of vocabulary words. Write a number on each card. Students place these cards in their lanyards. Note: I often have students turn their lanyards around, so they are hanging down the students’ backs. This helps with personal space.
Give students a sheet with vocabulary words.
Set a timer. When the timer begins, students walk around the room reading the definitions. They must write the corresponding number of the definition next to each vocabulary word on their sheet. When the timer stops, students return to their seats.
The answers are checked to determine how many correct responses are identified.
This activity may be used for any skill that requires matching.
Permanent link to this article: http://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=10